Many were surprised by Tottenham’s victory at Old Trafford for the first time since 1989 on Sunday, but if you looked carefully enough the signs were there before kick-off. I am not talking about Tottenham’s slow but steady transformation under AVB in the last couple of games, although credit does have to go to Spurs and their Manager for attaining the victory, but rather Manchester United’s recent lethargic and labouring performances.
Before the game against Spurs, United had won four of their last four in the league and topped the form table. To the casual observer who takes the occasional glance at the table to see who is where, it would appear that the dominating team of the last decade were ready to steam roller the opposition this season and reclaim the premiership title from their noisy neighbours. However, if we scratch beneath the haul of maximum points in these four games, the manner in which these victories were achieved tell a different tale.
Other than a 4-0 romp against Wigan, (and where in fairness they only turned up for the last half an hour) the other three victories had all been by the single goal and had been hard fought and rather fortuitous.
Against Fulham and Southampton they had to come from behind to win and defensively looked a shambles, while against a ten man Liverpool they had to rely on an extremely debatable penalty and would of in all likelihood succumbed against eleven men, with Liverpool the better team throughout the match.
The performances have been stuttering to say the least, so the warning signs were certainly there before last weekend. With Newcastle, Chelsea and Arsenal three of their next four games, further below par performances will not suffice and we will surely be seeing a fairer ratio in terms of level of performance:amount of points if this continues.
What’s your take? Are Manchester United off the pace this season and are they still genuine title contenders? Are you still backing Fergie, or is Mancini the new King of Manchester?
Follow me: @NeilsWMurray
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